MAREA Ryan with young bub Bodhi Camenzinde and Gold Coast Titans managing director Michael Searle.
MAREA Ryan with young bub Bodhi Camenzinde and Gold Coast Titans managing director Michael Searle. Tweed Daily News

Mother's Milk Bank launched

A MARATHON bike rider, a Titans manager and tiny babies would seem to have little in common.

But Marea Ryan, a midwife and manager of the maternity unit at John Flynn Hospital in Tugun, was happy to see them all as the Mother's Milk Bank was launched in Banora Point yesterday.

The first, George Doniger, made it all possible by raising $35,000 on a charity ride from Currumbin to Cairns earlier this year. The Titans sponsored him to the tune of $5000 and yesterday the club kicked in another $5000, with managing director Michael Searle promising “to keep the doors open for a few more years”.

“We are passionate about this charity and our fans and club are supporting us,” he said.

Mr Doniger, a veteran rugby league caller, said he was happy to have ridden the 1783km to raise money, “but don't ask me to do it again”.

On hand, too, were the tiny bubs who will benefit from it all.

First time mother Kate Barlow, of Burleigh Heads, has a healthy baby and is producing far more milk than 10-week-old Piper needs. Having heard of the Mother's Milk Bank in the Australian Breastfeeding Association magazine, she is keen to donate milk to help other mothers and babies.

“I worked out that I have enough each day to feed seven babies,” she said.

Ms Ryan has been pushing for the milk bank for nearly three years, after learning of a similar scheme in Western Australia. She said while mother's milk was of particular importance for premature babies, it was also used for babies whose mothers could not feed them, either through illness or insufficient milk.

Apart from requiring costly equipment, such as a $75,000 pasteurising unit and 30,000 for a “Lactrac” machine that tracks each bottle of milk, the service has heavy ongoing costs, with tests of milk before and after donation costing $20 each.



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